ActivePaper Archive Blues teammates back Betts after online racial slur - The Age, 6/16/2020

Blues teammates back Betts after online racial slur


Eddie Betts

Carlton star Eddie Betts has been left ‘‘hurt’’ after a racial slur was directed towards him online last weekend.

Betts used his Instagram account to highlight a tweet directed to him on Sunday, which referenced him and a picture of a chimpanzee, the latest incident in a series of racist abuse directed at the forward.

‘‘If at any time anyone is wondering why we work so hard to bring attention to the importance of stamping out racism, this is it,’’ Betts said.

‘‘If ever there was a time where our focus on this needs to continue more than ever, it’s now.

‘‘We each have a responsibility to ourselves and each other. To continue to listen. To learn. To educate.’’

The racially vilifying tweet came on the same weekend that the entire AFL industry made a stand against racism, with all players taking a knee before their games to support the global movement Black Lives Matter. Carlton cocaptain and Betts’ friend Sam Docherty said the game must continue to call out racial abuse.

‘‘For what criticism the AFL is getting for being political, I think what we’re trying to do is make it right,’’ he said.

‘‘He’s one of our teammates, one of the most celebrated figures at our footy club and to see him vilified like that, it does hurt us. Anyone who’s asking why we’re taking a knee pregame, why we’re trying to make a difference, why we’re actually trying to do something about it, this is the exact reason why.

‘‘Being silent hasn’t worked for a number of years, so as an industry and a footy club, we have to stand behind our Indigenous players and make a stand.’’

Essendon yesterday released a statement after reports the person responsible for the abusive tweet was a Bombers fan. ‘‘The club is investigating the matter but has not yet been able to identify the person in question. If the person is a member, the club will immediately cancel their Essendon membership.’’